Steam cleaning your carpet
Most homeowners wonder how to steam clean their carpets to reduce dust or get rid of the indoor stains and odors.
While it is within your power to hire a pro to clean your carpets, it can be a difficult task to carry it all by yourself. So call us today.
What do we mean by steam cleaning your carpet?
The term ‘steam cleaning’ separates the water-based method of cleaning carpets from dry chemical compound methods used by a few established companies.
However, it is not the steam that cleans the carpet. It is the soaps applied with the machine. They are then activated by the steam or hot water.
It is clearly true in case you buy or rent a machine. It is also the case when proffesional steam cleaners are hired.
Even dry chemical cleaning companies use a small amount of water!
Steam cleaning (or carpet shampooing) does not require professional equipment. It also does not have the toxic risks associated with dry chemical carpet cleaning.
However, since water is involved, it does take longer before your carpets are ready to be walked on. For most people, the wait is worth the worries saved.
Vacuum before steam cleaning
Carpet steamers/carpet shampooers are not vacuums. They are specially programmed to wash and at least partially dry carpets. They also extract grime as they move. Vacuuming thoroughly is the only way to get rid of the ground-in dirt just before steam cleaning. However, that does not mean your usual quick back-and-forth over the carpet, either.
The ‘art’ of knowing how to vacuum well is the 1st step to getting your carpet truly clean.
To fulfill this, you have to thoroughly follow a few extra steps.
- Pick up all the items on the floor e.g. toys, books, etc.
- Remove your furniture or, at the very least, get smaller pieces (floor lamps, ottomans, etc.) and take them to another room.
- Dust your baseboards, so you’re not just knocking stuff off of them and back onto your freshly-vacuumed carpet.
- Use your crevice attachment around the base of the walls and any remaining furniture.
- Vacuum carpeting in two directions, first slowly in one direction then again from a 90-degree angle. Although this seems like overkill, carpet fibers are twisted, so vacuuming from different directions ensures each “side” of the fiber gets cleaned.
Treat Stains Before Steam Cleaning
While the carpet cleaning machine will remove quite a bit of grime and dust, the heat involved can also make stains harder to remove.
You have probably experienced this yourself, having cleaned your carpet only to find the stains returning a few days later. Why does this happen? Because the cleaning process forced the grime into the carpet pad, and then the carpet fibers wicked it out of the pad and back to the surface.
Here’s how to remove carpet stains to keep them from coming back. It’s the same method used to get dried paint out of carpeting in my home.
Prepare the room for steam cleaning
If you can remove all of the furniture from the room, great. If not, you’ll want to cut squares of wax paper or aluminum foil and slide them beneath the edges or feet of furniture.
This will protect your furniture and keep it from absorbing any moisture in the carpet left behind after steam cleaning. Leave them in place until the carpet is thoroughly dry, usually about a day.
It’s always a good idea to spot-test any cleaning product you plan to use on your carpet. I recommend testing in a closet or other out-of-the-way location. This way you don’t risk damaging or fading your carpet with a product that’s not right for it.
Why hire us?
Most carpet steam cleaners are designed to lay down water when you’re pushing the machine forward then extract it while you pull it back.
Be sure to pull the machine very slowly so you can remove as much water as possible. Too much water left behind will cause your carpet padding to get soaked and can lead to mold, mildew, and horrible odors.
For this reason, it’s also best to steam clean carpeting when the weather is warm enough to open the windows since that will speed up drying. If you can’t open the windows, then run fans to help your carpets dry before mildew can set in.
How Often To Steam Clean Carpet?
At a minimum, you need to steam clean your carpeting once a year. If you have pets, suffer from allergies, or wear shoes indoors then you will want to steam clean your carpet more often.
Late spring and autumn are good times to clean steam carpeting since the weather is typically warm enough that you can open windows to speed the drying process.